Pipeline Theatre Company's world premiere musical investigates the making and breaking of the American dream across three bygone generations. More…
In 1911, Rosealia dreams of a better life. In 1933, Kai struggles to keep her daughter safe. In 1955, Hannah finally fights for herself. 'Folk Wandering' is a sweeping musical conjured from the hearts and minds of Jaclyn Backhaus ('Men on Boats'), Andrew Neisler, and nine emerging singer-songwriters, and an exploration of the hope, heartache, and longing that binds us all together.
"Beautifully performed...A charming and good-natured musical...The score is an accomplished blend of well-crafted songs in a variety of styles...Neisler's staging is expertly panoramic...Hobbs' choreography is a delightful assortment of dances and movements that represent the different time periods and moods...Though the ambitious linking of the three disparate stories is at times strained, 'Folk Wandering' succeeds as an original and absorbing entertainment." Full Review
"Simultaneously intimate and epic as its multicultural cast conjures three tales from our collective American memory...Even if you guess where these narratives will go, you won’t anticipate the emotional epiphanies they evoke as they spin facts into melodic fiction. The numbers are enthralling throughout and make up for flaws in the storytelling...Although the show occasionally slips into pretension, it gets at something deep about the way the past can hold us back or push us forward." Full Review
"Very busy...Its sheer abundance of story and song, and its fast cuts from one narrative to another, can make it feel like a tasting menu...There’s nostalgia in the gorgeously played songs...Backhaus’s stories, vivid with the colors of human experience, are a vital defense against sentimentality...The narrative frame feels forced, though, teetering between earnestness and self-consciousness without solving the problem of uniting the three different plots...Only partly succeeds." Full Review
"The overall excellence of the ensemble is one of the joys...Where 'Folk Wandering' attempts to plumb more profound emotional depths, the production suffers from a lack of any really strong connection to the key characters...The overall quality of the scenic and performative elements of disguise some of its shakier dramaturgical elements. The book...is basically strong on a scenic level, but does not seem to know where to land...A thoroughly enjoyable new musical." Full Review
"There are a few standout dishes, the company is charming, but the whole is less than the sum of its fragmented parts...All signs suggest that we're in for something akin to side-by-side episodes of 'Wishbone' rather than a scrutinizing look at these three eras of American history. And yet, the latter portion of the show — which features one particularly jarring tonal shift — subverts that expectation in a way that leaves us more confused than moved by the suddenly changing winds." Full Review
"The only thing linking these stories is the ineptitude with which they are told...Jaclyn Backhaus' book is so sketchy and poorly constructed that it is impossible for these three intercut narratives to build on each other...The score, by ten contributors, lacks a cohesive style or point of view...Andrew Neisler's direction allows for plenty of mugging among the members of the large cast, but there are striking contributions." Full Review
See it if you love brave, devised, innovative story-telling with fantastic music that digs into themes of Americana and shared memories.
Don't see it if you want a cautious revival or a traditional plot structure. Pipeline makes wonderful magical shows by taking risks: that's good theater!
See it if You enjoy historical stories of strong women with fantastic music and enchanting staging.
Don't see it if You find non-linear storylines hard to follow, or can’t deal with the harsh realities of American history.
See it if Like musicals or stories cleverly intertwined by a multitalented young.cast.
Don't see it if You only like staid old pieces with little invention, and people breaking into song to tell a tale perfectly.
See it if You enjoy folk/indie music. Enjoy innovative shows that aren't afraid to break rules. Enjoy musicals that look at American history.
Don't see it if You enjoy only more traditional book musicals that don't break the fourth wall. Don't enjoy folk/indie music. You want something "light."
See it if you want to see an amazingly well done Off-Off Broadway production, you love new, non-traditional musical theater, you're into history.
Don't see it if You like traditional musical theater, you don't particularly like country music, you want a really structured plot that is easy to follow.
See it if like musicals. really pretty current sounding music. lovely voices and acting. unusual story line and very worthwhile
Don't see it if Need a show to start strong and quickly
See it if You like stories with easy transactions between each other. Great set design, highly entertaining folk music. Totally worthy seeing it.
Don't see it if You are expecting high tech staging or don’t like folk music.
See it if You like shows that sort of sneak up on you. Quirky in its plot presentation I wasn’t sure I even liked it then found myself completely in.
Don't see it if You want a lot of straight forward action. This takes time to take shape. For a while you may not know where you’re going but it’s worth it.
See it if You like musicals with a folk twist, strong exuberant voices, a storyline that is a testament to human spirit, in an intimate theatre space.
Don't see it if You don’t like musicals, thinly interwoven storylines spanning several decades.
See it if you like good singing and a talented ensemble. Some very good singer-songwriter type songs. Production accomplishes a lot on small budget.
Don't see it if you're looking for more established stories. Characters felt more archetypal than fully fleshed out. Still a show worth seeing for talent.
See it if you want a cheerful, lively show with great singing & live music. You like (simple & simplified) tales of independent women from years past.
Don't see it if you want surprises, nuanced characters, or historical learnings. This is a predictable, feel-good song-&-music show with a good cast.
See it if You want to melt into a heart-breaker of a show beautifully performed by a tight, energetic ensemble.
Don't see it if You can’t get past a lack of polished plot. This show lovingly meanders, a shame because it’s at its best when the plot clears up.
See it if You know someone in the play or you don't mind great musicians with disjointed, confusing plotline. Actors really enjoyed themselves.
Don't see it if You need a plot that makes sense and not just random stories with random people that aren't framed well.
See it if you like musicals with fun songs a committed cast or you are interested in how artifacts and objects emotionally resonate through time.
Don't see it if You are looking for a deep theatre experience that asks important questions or explores the complicated aspects of the human experience.
See it if you want to see an earnest & arty new folk musical showcasing a jaunty & sometimes poignant score by emerging singer-songwriters.
Don't see it if you expect cohesive directing or a cogent storyline (or 3) to support the jumbled musical styles (by 10 composers) & awkward framing device.
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